NPR Series: Talk of the Nation Opinion Page Podcast
Summary: Every Monday, 'Talk of the Nation' hosts a live discussion with the author of a provocative op-ed from the Sunday papers. The audience is encouraged to read the commentary each week at npr.org and call or e-mail during the show with questions and comments.
Sept. 5 is Labor Day in name only, E.J. Dionne argues in The Washington Post. It's just a matter of time, he says, before Labor Day falls off the calendar. But, while it remains "it should shame us about our cool indifference to the heroism of those who go to work every day."
Professor Andrew Hacker says that higher education in the U.S. is broken. He argues that too many undergraduate courses are taught by graduate assistants or professors who have no interest in teaching. Hacker proposes numerous changes, including an end to the tenure system, in his book, Higher Education?
As oil continues to leak into Gulf Coast waters, policymakers in Washington are calling for a reassessment of offshore oil exploration. But Lisa Margonelli, executive director of the New America Foundation's energy initiative, warns that "every gallon of gas is a gallon of risks."
Pope Benedict XVI has released an apology to Catholics in Ireland who were sexually abused by priests. Patsy McGarry of The Irish Times argues that while the letter is refreshing, it fails to hold church officials responsible.
For the first time in more than fifty years, the Oscars feature 10 movies nominated for Best Picture. The head of the Academy says it's the best way to ensure all qualified films are honored. Neal Gabler calls it pandering.
Some people keep milk until it fails the sniff test, while others pitch it the minute it hits the use-by date. Do those expiration dates really mean anything? Nadia Arumugam says no, and that it's the food supply chain, not the sell-by date, we should care about.
The U.S. Marines, with Afghan and NATO forces, continue to battle Taliban insurgents in a massive offensive in Marja, Afghanistan. The deaths of 12 civilians in a rocket strike was a setback for Western forces, but Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution argues that the benefits of the offensive are worth the costs.
After the attempted attack on a Northwest Airlines flight, some have argued for an expanded no-fly list to protect travelers. But attorney Justin Florence believes allowing wrongly listed travelers to do more to clear their names would be a better step to improve passenger safety.
Some great minds conceived some awful ideas in the last ten years. As we close out 2009, guests share their picks for the worst ideas of the decade, from Sarbanes-Oxley and torture memos, to the Blackberry and TV dance competitions
President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize has sparked conversation about the his foreign policy aspirations and achievements. Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski appraises Obama's first year in the foreign policy arena.